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How should you eat after having heart surgery?

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Quick Answer

After having heart surgery, patients should eat smaller portions more frequently, recommends the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. Doctors advise consuming various healthy foods; selecting low-fat and low-cholesterol foods; and eating less sodium.

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The type of diet that suits a patient mainly depends on his condition, states the Keck School of Medicine. Diabetics maintain a diet that is low in sugar and fat, while patients with heart failure keep a low-sodium diet restricted to 2,000 milligrams of sodium. Overall, patients who went through heart surgery should reduce their consumption of sugar and sweets and add more fiber and carbohydrates to their meal plans.

Patients typically experience weight loss following a heart surgery due to mild nausea and lack of appetite, notes the Keck School of Medicine. Practicing portion control and taking medications on a full stomach may help improve these postoperative effects. To relieve constipation, patients should drink six to eight glasses of water each day; eat lots of fiber and fresh fruits; and use the prescribed stool softener.

To reduce risk of coronary artery disease, patients must restrict their fat intake after surgery to a maximum of 30 percent of their total daily calories, according to the Keck School of Medicine. Controlling sodium and fluid intake is also important to avoid sodium and fluid accumulation in the veins and arteries.

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